Showing posts with label Wildenstein Scandal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wildenstein Scandal. Show all posts

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Wildenstein Name in HistoryGuy Wildenstein and his brother Alec have been surrounded by more scandal than any other wealthy family bar the Kennedys. The 65 year old billionaire, who is the president of Wildenstein & Co. presided over one of the most prestigious art dealerships in the world, which dates back five generations and is still family run. Wildenstein is now facing charges by French anti-fraud investigators for alleged money-laundering and tax evasion. It is also thought that a charge of theft may possibly be added to the list as the gallery faces half a dozen lawsuits with allegations of fraud, handling of stolen paintings and deception.
The seizure of about 30 works has put another uncomfortable focus on the scandal ridden Wildenstein family. The courts are also seeking answers to questions raised by the Académie des Beaux-Arts lawsuit. ADBA is a prestigious French cultural society that has filed a legal complaint seeking an inquiry into the whereabouts of a missing painting.
The Wildenstein Institute a non profit charity which is run by the family as a research center in Paris has now been raided on several occasions. It is alleged that sculptures and paintings by artists such as Degas, Rembrandt Bugatti and Berthe Morisot have been carted off by the police. The works were reported missing by Jewish families who claimed restitution rights through new laws instituted in the 1990's. The law helps claim works stolen by the Nazis, from wealthy families. Heirs have had thousands of works returned through family estate settlements.
It has been said that the Wildensteins are charming sociopaths. They have now reached the end of their dominance as art market leaders with career, credibility and possibly their liberty at stake.
The raid and the subsequent legal action resulted from a criminal lawsuit filed in Paris in September by Mr. Wildenstein’s stepmother, the late  Sylvia Roth Wildenstein who alleged that, Guy and Alec, convinced their stepmother that their father died bankrupt to rob her of money from his estate. She accused Wildenstein of tax evasion and money laundering to mask the size of the family fortune by shuffling the ownership titles of Impressionist paintings, including 19 valuable works by Bonnard and storing the art in a vault in Geneva as well as other tax havens, far from the reach of the French tax authorities.
The family has also suffered a number of personal scandals, including the acrimonious divorce of Alec from Jocelyn 'Cat Woman' Wildenstein.  She was granted a divorce in 1999 after she allegedly found Alec in a compromising position with a 19-year-old model. She cried “sexual abandonment” and won a hefty settlement which she promptly spent on more plastic surgery securing her nickname as 'The Bride Of Wildenstein'. Could this family possibly bring more disgrace upon itself?

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